66% or better

Fantastic Tach Is Strangely Called Tachtastic

tachtastic diy tachometer

We all have projects from yesteryear that we wish had been documented better. [EjaadTech] is fighting back by creating a project page about a tachometer he built 3 years ago while in college. He’s done a great write-up documenting all the steps from bread-boarding to testing to finished project. All of the code necessary for this tachometer is available too, just in case you’d like to make one yourself.

At the heart of the project is an AVR ATMega8 chip that performs the calculations and controls the LCD output screen that displays both the immediate RPM as well as the average. To hold everything together, [EjaadTech] etched his own custom PCB board that we must say looks pretty good. In addition to holding all the necessary components, there is also an ISP connector for programming and re-programming.

There are two attachment options for sensing the RPM. One is a beam-break style where the IR emitter is on one side of the object and the receiver is on the other. This type of sensor would work well with something like a fan, where the blades would break the IR beam as they passed by. Then other attachment has the IR emitter and receiver on one board mounted next to each other. The emitter continually sends out a signal and the receiver counts how often it sees a reflection. This works for rotating objects such as shafts where there would not be a regular break in the IR beam. For this reflective-based setup to work there would have to be a small piece of reflective tape on the shaft providing a once-per-revolution reflection point. Notice the use of female headers to block any stray IR beams from causing an inaccurate reading… simple and effective.

 

Zero-Dollar AC System Looks Funny But Works Well

Basement-cooled AC

Summer is here and with summer comes hot days. You probably know that us humans get uncomfortable if the temperature rises too much. Sure, we could turn on the loud and inefficient window AC unit and try to stay mildly comfortable while the electric company pick-pockets pennies from our change purse, but what is the fun in that? [Fran] had a better idea.

He noticed that his basement was always in the upper 50°F range regardless of how hot it was outside. He wanted the cool basement air to reside upstairs in the living area. After thinking long and hard about it he decided that a box fan and two long, skinny cardboard boxes assembled together would be enough to move the required amount of air. Both the fan and boxes were kicking around the house so was no cost and no risk to try this out. [Read more...]

Fishing for Radio Signals With the Moxon Antenna

mox-antenna

[Bill Meara] has finished his latest project, a Moxon antenna for HF on 17 meters. [Bill] is well-known here on Hackaday. When not building awesome radios, he can be found ranting about ham radio. His new antenna turned out to be a true hack. He even used a hacksaw to build it!

The Moxon antenna is named for the late [Les Moxon, G6XN] who first described it in “Two-Element Driven Arrays”, a QST magazine article published in July of 1952.  [Bill] built his Moxon loosely based on [Jim/AE6AC's] excellent instructions. The design is incredibly simple – a two element directional antenna using crappie fishing poles as spreaders. That’s crappie as in the fish, not the quality of the pole. Crappie poles are typically made up of telescoping sections of graphite or fiberglass  in common lengths of 14, 16, and 20 feet. The poles can be bought for under $20 at sporting goods stores. [Bill] used 16 foot poles purchased from Amazon.

The antenna is created by connecting all four poles at their bases in an X shape. The wire elements are stretched across the ends of the poles. The entire antenna bends up as the stiff poles hold the driven and reflector elements in tension. [Bill] used some scrap wood and U-bolts to attach the fishing poles, and bungee cord ends at the tips. Since the antenna is directional, [Bill] added a TV antenna rotor to spin the beam around. The antenna is so light that one could get by with a couple of cords and the “Armstrong method” of antenna rotation.

Once up on the roof, [Bill] found his antenna really performed. He was easily able to cross the Atlantic from his Northern Virginia home to France, Belgium, and Latvia. The mostly horizontal antenna makes it a bit more unobtrusive than other directional designs. [Bill] mentions that his neighbors haven’t revolted yet, so he’s continuing to enjoy the fruits of his antenna labors.

Red Bull Creation Winners: Maker Twins

This year’s Red Bull Creation theme “Reinvent the Wheel” was pretty broad, but the Maker Twins managed to incorporate it quite closely with their winning project which was completed in under 72 hours. They took the idea of urban farming and figured out one way to make farmer’s markets more feasible by helping to eliminate waste and spruce up the presentation of the produce.

The project amounts to a Ferris wheel. Instead of passenger compartments there are modular crates which are built with one wooden pallet each. The wheel itself is chain-driven and allows the system to track where each crate is in the rotation. This data is leveraged for a couple of different uses. One lets the customer select their produce on a tablet app and the crate will rotate into position so they may pick the individual items they want. The machine will also take care of automated watering to ensure the produce on display doesn’t get dried out. The icing on the cake is a separate station for washing and cutting the purchased veggies.

Thank you to Maker Twins for contributing some demonstration “b-roll” for use in this video.

Hacked e-cigarette vaporizer can send smells…in space!

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This 3D printed scent distributor was put together by eight people from three states during the 2014 NYC NASA Space Apps Challenge. The team went on to take 1st place in the competition.

The project is called Senti8 and uses a FLORA Arduino micro-controller and a Neopixel LED strip purchased from Adafruit. A smartphone mobile app then remotely connects to the device allowing the user to choose which scent they would like to send to their friend, who is also wearing one of the wristbands.

They came up with the idea by simply asking an American astronaut named [Doug Wheelock] what he missed the most while travelling through the boundless reaches of outer space. To their surprise, he said that the thing he missed the most was his sense of smell.

Originally, the project was envisioned to be a wearable technology for space tourism. But over time, the project morphed into a wristband that would allow people to remember places or planets visited. Even memories unique to those places through scent could be experimented with.

One of the team members, [Brooks], was spotted wearing the Senti8 at the Wearable Tech LA conference in Pasadena, CA on July 17, 2014. The LED lights lining the outside could be seen all the way across the large auditorium as she chatted up with local Crashspace members as they prepared to present their design-oriented hacks to the public.

She gave an interview demoing the wristband which can be seen in the video posted below:

[Read more...]

New Round of Astronaut or Not: Most Outrageous Component

 

Round 2 Astronaut or Not Voting Results Graph

And so ends round 2 of Astronaut or Not. We asked you to vote for the projects “most likely to be used in other projects”. Again you didn’t disappoint. We had a mountain of votes, and happily gave away a Bukito portable 3D printer to one of the lucky voters.

You must vote at least once in this new round to be eligible for the voter lottery on Friday!

Vote for the project with “the most outrageous component”. Can’t figure out what we mean by that? Well, if you come across an entry that has a quarter-million-dollar hard drive in it… vote for that one.

Voter Lottery Prize:

BK Precision 1760AHow long have you been making do with a hacked together power supply?

Be sure you vote and you could kiss those days goodbye with this BK Precision 1760A bench supply. It has three channels; 0-30V 0-2A on the first two and 4-6.5V 0-5A on the third. We’re also throwing in some leads so that you can be up and running as soon as it arrives.

We’ll draw a random number on Friday morning. If you have voted at least one time in this current round (your participation in previous rounds doesn’t matter) and your hacker number is drawn you will win! But if your number is drawn and you haven’t voted… no bench supply for you.

Now for the results:

[Read more...]

THP Entry: Cut Energy Consumption by 30 percent with this WiFi XBee Setup

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Let’s be honest. Paying electricity bills sucks. The amount paid is always too much, and the temperatures in the building are rarely set at a comfortable level. But now, with the help of this DIY Climate Control system, power-users can finally rejoice knowing that the heating and cooling process of their home (or commercial space) can be easily controlled through the utilization of an XBee Remote Kit and a process called zoning.

The team behind the project is [Doug], [Benjamin] and [Lucas]. They hope to solve the inconsistent temperature problems, which are caused by a moving sun, by open-sourcing their work into the community.

Their XBee system runs on a mesh network making it a perfect tool for sensing and communicating which areas in the house are too hot or too cold. Once the data is collected, XBee modules route the information wirelessly to each other until it reaches a central Arduino gatekeeper; which then decides if it wants to heat, ventilate, or air condition the room.

Not to mention all the added benefits posted below:

[Read more...]